Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman
Have you made your list of New Year’s resolutions? Or did you give up on that tradition years ago? When you make your resolution list, do you promptly lose it? Does your preschooler find it and use it for handwriting practice?
A classic New Year’s resolution is to be more organized. Everyone recognizes that being organized and efficient improves productivity and makes life more pleasant. But while it’s one thing to make the resolution it’s another to accomplish it.
Some say that people are either born organized or they’re not. I agree to a point; I have seen in my own children how their brains work differently and make them better at certain tasks than others. I do believe though that everyone can become better organized and disciplined in their personal habits. I certainly have room for improvement. I have had years when I was very organized and efficient and other years where I felt as if I were drowning in mess and so tired that the thought of where to start was overwhelming. I can easily blame it on workload, babies, hormones, too many outside-the-home activities, and more. Whether you are on top of things right now or not, there’s always room for improvement.
Why do you want to be more organized? What are your goals? Who are you aiming to please? Write the answers to these question on the paper that you have been writing your New Year’s resolutions on. We want to know why we’re doing what we’re doing to help motivate us to follow through.
Work on putting life in line with God’s Word. Use Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 as a reference point in making your goals.
Once you’ve motivated yourself with getting to the underlying reasons, let’s move forward to how we’re going to be more organized. It’s not enough to just make a goal or a resolution; we need to make a plan to reach it. We’ll work on the basics of planning the work of being organized. Sometimes planning the work can be so much fun but takes so much time that we don’t get any real work done! Keep the planning simple. Maybe you are one that hates to plan and just wants to get it done so you dive in and make a bigger mess in the process and “oops!” you forgot that people need to eat? Planning your work helps avoid those kind of “oops” moments.
While you have your pencil and resolution paper out, let’s make some simple plans. Divide your home management into different areas. Mine is divided into six:
- Home Office
- Town (shopping and errands)
Your life might look slightly different. Give each area of home management a day that you will focus on. For instance, Monday is Laundry Day and Tuesday is Kitchen Day at my house [you could also use the daily housekeeping schedule Darlene has posted on this site]. On the assigned day, do all the chores associated with that work on that day. This improves efficiency in dramatic way.
This is not new–I did not invent this idea. It is how our grandmothers and great-grandmothers worked. We’re recovering the lost art of home-management and we’ll teach it to our daughters. Where are your daughters by the way? Set them beside you and make these home organization plans together. Do you think they are too little? They aren’t. Maybe they will only do art work beside you or practice writing their name but tell them what you are doing. Watching is learning. If you have an older daughter, let her plan the management of an area. Work on this together.
Once you have assigned each day of the week to an area of home management, make a big list of every single task in that area. This is your new organized life. You will need discipline to stick to it. That’s a huge part of establishing new habits, reaching goals, and changing your life. What are your habits now? When are you doing the lists of tasks that you made? If you aren’t doing those tasks, what are you doing instead? Identify time wasters by watching yourself and writing down every single little thing that you do. You need to replace each bad time wasting habit with one of the things on the task list for the day. Match a time wasting habit with work task and every time you start to do that old habit, do the work instead. This is called “The Put-Off, Put-On Principle” which is found in Ephesians 4.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. ~ Ephesians 4:22-24
A big boost to self-discipline is in changing our attitudes! How is your attitude towards your home? This is a choice we make every day. Do you love your home? Do you love the people that live there? Do you love God who gave you your life, your home, and your family?
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ~ Galatians 5:13
It doesn’t say “through bitterness serve one another” or “through manipulation serve one another” it is through love that we serve one another. It is through God’s love in us that we can do this with joy. The things that are before us to do are His calling for us today. We are serving Him when we serve others. The Holy Spirit will help us in our calling.
God wants us to be full of His joy that comes from knowing Him (John 15). When we live in His will, when we put off our old self, when we serve Him with gladness, then we understand that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Serve the Lord with gladness! ~ Psalm 100:2
The best way to keep your attitude right is to spend time in God’s Word every day. We learn to know Him and love Him and how to better serve Him through His Word.
As you go about your day, pray without ceasing. He knows how many hairs are on your head, He sees the sparrow fall, and so of course He cares for every nuance of your day. Pray for strength, pray for wisdom, pray for understanding, and pray that the fruit of the Spirit will flow out of your life.
Your Christian ministry is your home! It is at the center of everything you do! Make time reading God’s Word a priority in your morning. It is your bread and water, it is your strength. Feed your spirit and in turn your attitude will be right with God. When your attitude is right, it becomes easier to put off bad habits and put on Godly habits. Our New Year’s Resolutions for being more organized are easier to achieve because we have Godly attitudes towards the ministry of our homes to others.
May the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth, bless you with strength and help you with your efforts to bring glory to Him in organizing your home!
Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.
When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.
Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:
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